It may sound strange and even a little bit contradictory but please, let me explain. Not too far back in the past, I had quit a very terrible job and began to look for another. I was off work for approximately six months. This was partially due to the fact that I was not looking too hard for another job and also because I had enough in savings to last me that long. While it was not the smartest decision on my part, it taught me a very important lesson. I do not have the discipline to write full time. I know this because during those six months, I had no motivation to write. Therefore I did not write. Not one single word.
This came as a complete shock to me because I had written everyday while working. We have all seen the stereotypical movies and television shows that portray writers as procrastinators and waiting until the last minute to meet a deadline. While this portrayal does not ring true for all writers, it certainly did for me. However, unlike the characters in the show, I did not have the pressure of a deadline.
For most people in this world, if you want to make your dreams come true, you have to work hard at them and be completely dedicated to seeing them become reality. I believe that the reason I did not write during my unemployment, was because the opportunity to write full time was there with no obstacles. I took for granted what was right in front of me and I did so because I did not have the discipline. This is exactly why I am grateful to have a day job.
With a job, I have to force myself to make time to write. I have to be so dedicated to my craft that I write on my lunch breaks and stay up late in order to get my word quota finished. The odds of me becoming a successful author are stacked against me and it is in these times where I learn if I have what it takes. Having a job will either break me as a writer or it will force me to do whatever I have to do to be successful. The fear of not reaching my goals is what I need in order to work hard to achieve them.
I have been truly blessed when it comes to my current day job. I work for a relatively small law firm that is honestly dedicated to helping others. Besides the fact that they treat their employees with the respect that they deserve, my firm is very goal oriented. They believe in setting achievable goals and celebrating when those goals are met. As one of the attorneys in the firm loves to say, “We work hard so that we can play hard.” Last weekend I was lounging on a beach in Riviera Maya because our firm met all of our 2014 goals.
- Write 1,000 words per day, everyday
- Complete the novel that I am writing the end of the year
- Complete a novella
- Complete 5 short stories
While my goal list may be short, I think they are obtainable. There are just under 300 days left in the year, meaning I could write 300,000 words be the end of 2015. I have decided that if I reach all of my goals that I will do something for myself as a writer that I have always wanted to do. I will take an extended weekend writing vacation alone somewhere within the United States. I have dreamt about getting away somewhere that I can spend the whole time writing and enjoying myself.
I would love to hear what your writing goals are or any other thoughts you might have!